In my technical battle with my hard drive, I have won the fight of recovering all my files as of last night. This is a very good step in the technological battle I am waging on my soon-to-be-retired hard drive. Blue screen of death? Not on my watch! In any case, I am going to be reloading my trusty version of Windows XP this weekend, so I hope to be back in the game by Saturday evening. If anyone mentions the word "Vista", I'll end you as fast as the Penguins are going to end Ottawa's season.
Speaking of "critical hits", I was extremely impressed with the way Dallas beat Anaheim at their own game last night. The Ducks appeared to want to resort to pre-lockout hockey, and it cost them dearly as Dallas scored four powerplay goals in their 4-0 victory.
Marty Turco, for one night, erased any playoff skeletons he had in his closet by standing on his head with an acrobatic 23-save shutout of the Ducks. Turco led the Stars to their first opening-game victory in their last six attempts. Dallas' defence was also impressive, limiting the Ducks' scoring chances. For nearly 20 minutes, the Ducks were held without a shot from the middle of the first period to the middle of the second period.
If Anaheim wants to repeat, they had better get their heads screwed on right and start playing the game. Being a team of goons is clearly a costly proposition, especially when Dallas' powerplay is clicking on all cylinders.
Controversy?: The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Nashville Predators by a 3-1 score last night. However, the game-winning goal, scored by Henrik Zetterberg, had some controversy attached to it.
"We cleared the puck and it look like it hit the linesman and came back in," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said to The Canadian Press. "I looked at it again on replay and from my judgment, it looked fairly clear."
Officials ruled the play was not offside, and the goal stood as the winner.
Overall, this game was fairly low-key. There were a few decent hits, but both teams played their systems fairly methodically. I'm looking for more from the Red Wings if they hope to progress far in the playoffs.
Flying Belarussian Frenchmen: I have been a big supporter of the Kostitsyn brothers from Montreal since watching them play for the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. They always had a nose for the net, and played the game at an exceptionally high level. Last night, they showcased their talents before the game was three minutes old in "La Belle Province".
Little brother Sergei, #74 in your programs, scored just 34 seconds into the game, while older brother Andrei, #46 in your programs, tallied his own playoff goal at 2:02 of the first period. Goals from Bryan Smolinski and Tom Kostopoulos paced Montreal to their 4-1 win. Shane Hnidy had the lone goal for Boston.
What makes the Kostitsyns slightly unique, and the Montreal Canadiens for that matter, is that there is no first initial on the back of their jerseys to distinguish between the two Belarussian snipers. Personally, I like that feature better than first initials on the back, but that's just my personal preference.
Squared At One: After a shaky first game, Evgeni Nabokov responded in Game Two against the Flames by shutting them out. The Sharks evened their series up at one-game apiece by defeating the Flames 2-0 last night at the "Shark Tank".
Nabokov was stellar, making 21 saves for the victory, including a ridiculous save on former Shark Owen Nolan. We're talking "highway robbery". Here is the video evidence of the biggest "crime" thus far in the playoffs:
Un. Freaking. Believable.
Flames head coach Mike Keenan was not impressed with the officiating whatsoever in this game as the Flames were on a penalty-kill for 9:52 of the second period.
"I was very upset about the officiating," he said to The Canadian Press. "I'll share those thoughts with the league and with the supervisor of the officials. I can't comment on how it affected my players. We had a good first period, and then there was a total imbalance in the second."
Game Three goes Sunday in Calgary, and I expect the Sea of Red to be out in full force in Cow-town.
Know Your Role: Thanks to Paul Lukas of ESPN.com and Uni Watch Blog fame, his keen ears caught Commissioner Gary Bettman on a New York sports radio station yesterday. WFAN, "The Fan", had Mr. Bettman on with Mike and the Mad Dog talking hockey. You can listen to the clip here.
Now, if you listen closely, Mr. Bettman talks about how Ace Bailey, the man who had the benefit game played for him in 1934, died in the plane crash during the 9/11 tragedy in the US. Or, as Mr. Lukas put it, "[i]t’s one thing for a casual fan to make this mistake, but the commissioner of the freakin’ league?"
Irvin Wallace Bailey was the man who had the benefit game played in his honour after his skull was fractured on the ice. Garnet Edward Bailey died in the plane crash.
You would think that someone as important as Mr. Bettman would know the history of the game, right? Apparently not.
More games tonight, and more of me fixing my computer while glancing at the television. Have fun, and I'll try to be back by tomorrow!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!